Students de-pants for charity drive

By Adam Goldstein
Published: February 2010

In an effort to raise awareness about the Turnaround Teens for Jeans program, senior Ben Chesler organized and planned the No-Pants Monday event that took place on February 8. Over 40 students assembled at the Turnaround office at the beginning of homeroom, dropped their pants, and donated nearly 70 pairs of jeans by the end of the day.

Chesler’s inspiration for the event came from his WISE (Woodlands Individualized Senior Experience) project. Based on missions such as the No-Pants Subway Ride performed by the Improv Everywhere group, Chesler attempted to bring a bit of comedy and spontaneity to everyday life at South.

“[It was] an opportunity to do some good while combining it with something creative, he said.

Chesler thought of the idea during a homeroom announcement for the Teens for Jeans program.

The program works to collect used jeans and distribute them to homeless teens around the country. The drive accepts various-sized jeans that are in good condition and will donate them to a local Aéropostale store.

Aéropostale will send the first 100,000 jeans collected and match each pair with a pair of new Aéropostale jeans. All other pairs collected after the initial 100,000 will be distributed to local charities and homeless shelters.

Students saw the event as a fun opportunity to get involved. Senior Samantha Mankin believes that the event offered students a tangible way of understanding what it is like to not have clothes to wear.

“It makes it a little more real that we’re taking off our own pants, she said. “We get dressed everyday and now, we have the option to donate [one pair of jeans] and still have more to choose from the next day.

Chesler discussed the plan with Principal Joel Stembridge who, according to Chesler, was in full support of the idea. Housemasters, however, were initially concerned about students in underwear and proposed that students just wear shorts instead. Chesler and the administration eventually agreed to certain dress conditions and the event went on as planned.

“I understood their concerns but I wanted the illusion of kids coming to school and taking off their pants, Chesler said. “You can have that illusion without it being inappropriate.

The administration asked that female students participating in No-Pants Monday wear shorts or tights under boxers and male students, compression shorts or briefs. Housemasters reserved the right to determine whether or not a student’s attire was appropriate.

Mankin believes No-Pants Monday successfully spread the word about the Teens for Jeans fundraiser.

“We’ve seen the boxes around the school [prior the event], but no one really felt obliged to do anything about it, Mankin said. “This was a good way of getting people involved.

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